Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How do cats stay cool in the summertime?

Outdoor cats on hot pavement
Beorn and Jasper seem to love the heat.

When the temperature rises, cats seem to truly love being alive. I have yet to meet a cat that won't sprawl on a sunny windowsill, and Beorn and Jasper will even nap on the pavement on hot days. They have special affection for afternoon asphalt, when the ground is warm from 10 hours of full sun exposure.

I know many dogs can't tolerate this sort of heat, so I started to wonder how cats could keep so cool when the temperature climbs.

Turns out, most cats take their grooming rituals into overdrive when the weather climbs. As they clean their fur with their tongues, they wet that fur down and the breeze across the wet fur helps them stay cool. Cats can also sweat through their feet, so they can dispel a bit of heat via that method.

This doesn't mean, however, that cats aren't at risk for heat stroke.

While most cats will seek out a cool spot when the weather is hot, trapping a cat in a hot car could mean disaster. And leaving a cat in a hot apartment all day could also kill a cat, if that cat isn't given any way to escape from the heat. This website lists some clever methods people use to cool their cats on hot days.

Looking for a good product? Try this:  K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III Medium Blue 22" x 32" as sold on Amazon. This cooling mat is a particularly good option if your home doesn't have air conditioning and your indoor temperature reaches 85 or above on a regular basis. The mat wicks up cooler temps from the floor and spreads it out along the water. My cats love to sprawl on this thing.

And, if you'd like to know even more about cats and temperature regulation, check out this post about how cats stay warm in the winter.

Disclosure: Some product links in this post are “affiliate links.” If you click on them and make a purchase, I'll get a commission. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I believe provide real value. This disclosure comes in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”